LONDON -- Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney accused world leaders Wednesday of failing to protect journalists and responding with "a collective shrug" over the slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Clooney, the British government's envoy on media freedom, said at a conference on press freedom that "journalists are under attack like never before," not just while covering wars but for exposing crime and corruption.

"The vast majority of these murders go unpunished," she said, adding that "world leaders responded with little more than a collective shrug" to Khashoggi's killing by agents close to the Saudi crown prince.

The Washington Post columnist was killed inside Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul last year.

According to the United Nations cultural body UNESCO, 99 media workers were killed worldwide in 2018.

The London conference where Clooney spoke was called by U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland with the aim of improving protection for journalists around the world.

The gathering announced the founding of a global fund to provide training, legal support and other resources for journalists in danger zones, administered by the U.N. cultural body.

It's unclear how much money the fund will have; Britain committed $3.8 million and Canada $760,000 Canadian dollars.

Politicians, officials, activists and journalists from more than 100 countries attended the two-day meeting, but two Russian news outlets were banned.

The British government said Russian news agency Sputnik and state-owned TV network RT were excluded because of their alleged "active role in spreading disinformation."

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